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Revisiting ‘Twilight’ 13 years later

| Thursday, September 2, 2021

Claire Kirner | The Observer

Every so often a cultural phenomenon occurs where it seems that everyone is talking about one thing. Of course, a piece of popular media’s grip on popular culture loosens over time and eventually, it is relegated to the status of a nostalgia piece and becomes the subjects of jokes. The years slowly slip by, and suddenly the once-popular piece of pop culture is unearthed and re-evaluated by a new generation of consumers and surges in popularity once again. Such is the case with Catherine Hardwicke’s 2008 film, “Twilight.”

Due to the recent surge in popularity thanks to TikTok and Netflix, the “Twilight Saga” has once again been brought to the forefront of the popular consciousness. After being pestered by certain unnamed individuals to re-watch “Twilight,” I finally caved and revisited the 2008 blockbuster.

Was it awful? Surprisingly, no.

I am a huge fan of vampire films, although I am more acquainted with “Nosferatu,” “Dracula” and “Interview with the Vampire,” than “Twilight.” Hardwicke’s film eschews the traditional secluded European nobility and suave one-percenters for *checks notes* angsty teenagers that sparkle in the sunlight. I’ll give credit where credit is due: “Twilight” has a fiercely original conception of the vampire, one that is both heroic and villainous rather than the tradition of all bloodsuckers being evil. The sparkling skin catches a lot of flak, and while it is rather hilarious, I give “Twilight” major points for originality.

Plot-wise, the audience isn’t given a ton to work with. We all know the basics: Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father, captures the attention of the mysterious Edward Cullen, learns he’s a vampire and they fall in love.

“Twilight” is filled with glorious non-performances, especially from Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Both are incredibly talented actors, but it seems like they’re both a thousand miles away from the film. Each of them provides the bare minimum of what is required of a performance: being on-screen and reading lines. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m not sure whether to blame the script, director or actors, but it’s impressive how bad the acting is in this film.

The script is another major point of contention for many viewers. It’s awful. With that being said, there is something extremely entertaining about the dialogue in “Twilight.” It’s the perfect film to get a group of friends together and watch and act out, much like “Rocky Horror” or “The Room.” It’s as though the screenwriter (or perhaps Stephanie Meyer) had never heard a teenager talk before. Regardless, the film abounds with gems such as Edward’s infamous line, “Your scent is like a drug to me like my own personal brand of heroin.”

As for the film’s technical aspects: the camera is shaky and everything is blue. The budget for this film was $37 million and it seems they couldn’t afford a tripod or a proper color grade. The shots aren’t particularly bad by any means, and a handful of the nature shots are beautiful, but the constant shaky cam is frustratingly ever-present and is incredibly distracting.

This is the part where I risk my credentials as a film critic. I was thoroughly entertained by “Twilight.” I know it’s not a good movie, but it’s just so watchable. The baseball scene alone is enough to balance out the mediocrity of the rest of the film. It’s nonsensical, bombastic and energetic. Above all else, it’s superhuman vampires playing baseball! If this is trash, then I guess I’m a raccoon. “Twilight” is nothing if not highly entertaining. This is a group movie night film if I’ve ever seen one.

“Twilight” is a popcorn movie of the highest regard. A simple plot, quotable dialogue and a huge nostalgia factor make this a very watchable film. It’s not good, but it’s not awful, middling but never amateur. It’s wildly entertaining and just so much fun to watch. If you’re looking for something to watch with your friends, you can do far worse than “Twilight.”

Title: “Twilight”

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

If you like: “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” “Warm Bodies”

Streaming on: Netflix

Shamrocks: 3 out of 5

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About Justin George

Justin is a Senior studying Film and Anthropology. He has a particular interest in film preservation and Horror, Cult, and Underground Cinema. When not writing about films, he can be found talking about films, watching films, or making films.

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